CAPITOLA -- Dennis Norton, City Council incumbent, and challenger Ed Bottorff participated in a candidate forum Wednesday at City Hall sponsored by the Capitola-Soquel Chamber of Commerce.
Another challenger, Jacques Bertrand, did not attend. He has been hospitalized with complications from a foot injury.
Norton and Bottorff took different stances on Highway 1 widening, pensions for part-time city council members, and restrooms, at the municipal wharf and offered nuanced answers on other issues.
Bottorff said he supported widening Highway 1 from four to six lanes, saying, "It will help people."
Norton said he does not support widening the highway. But if it is done, he wants Capitola to insist on a frontage road so people can get across town.
Bottorff said he does not think part-time council members should get a pension.
"I don't think we have a choice," Norton said. "We're required by law. It (the Capitola pension) couldn't be more than $100 a month."
Bottorff said he would support building bathrooms at the end of the wharf to replace the portable toilets.
"A public bathroom would be in the viewshed," Norton said, suggesting a better location for a bathroom would be where the boat storage is.
Bottorff said he questioned whether it makes sense for Capitola to build a larger library if funds are not available for operation.
"A fabulous library is a mile away in Live Oak," he said.
Norton said Capitola needs its own library.
"The existing location is very central and works for afterschool (needs)" he said.
He said he hopes the new facility when built will include a community meeting room.
Bottorff said the senior housing complex proposed for 38th Avenue is needed, while Norton declined to comment since the project will go before the council Oct. 25.
Norton said he questioned whether a new elementary school is needed at Jade Street Park. He liked when Capitola Elementary was next to New Brighton Middle School rather than having two locations where parents are driving kids to school.
Bottorff said the Soquel school district owns that property and will make that decision.
Bottorff said he liked the idea of a temporary parking lot at lower Pacific Cove to validate whether a multi-story parking garage is needed.
Norton said he worries that spending $1 million on a temporary parking lot will cut the incentive to build the parking garage.
"Just build the multi-story garage and do it now," he said.
Asked about garbage at the beach, Norton said the city increased the frequency garbage cans are emptied from two to three times a day.
Kelp, he added, can be scraped to the end of beach but not removed because of environmental regulations.
Bottorff said the garbage problem could be resolved by public works and asking business owners to maintain their garbage facilities.
Both call the acquisition of the Union Pacific rail line an asset.
"I was in favor of this 14 years ago," Norton said.
Asked if the city should get better insurance to avoid another flood fiasco, Bottorff said, "We can ask those questions up front about what's going to be covered."
Norton said, "This is the first time we had a situation like this. It's a lawyers' battle; their first motive is to not pay it. I'm not sure there is another insurance company that handles these type of claims."
Follow Sentinel reporter Jondi Gumz on Twitter at Twitter.com/jondigumz